Kannamal just got back from Delhi with the rest of the beads for the Yala order. She had to spend almost a week traveling to and from Delhi to find and purchase the beads that the women need to finish the order. This is a huge impediment and obstacle for the women, the fact that they have to allocate the time and MONEY to travel so far in order to run their business. We've tried to talk about alternatives for the women, like ordering from the stores and have the materials delivered to the colony to minimize travel time and costs, but the women weren't so keen on the idea. They exclaimed that they don't trust the ordering process because the stores might send the wrong or poor quality beads. They would much rather see the materials themselves before buying them. I am kind of worried though, because Kannamal wasn't able to find the neon colors that American Eagle wants for their Spring 2012 line. Oh, what to do...
I think it's really difficult for these women to cater to Western standards because they are so different from what they are used to. The designs for the Western market are also so much more complicated than their traditional designs meant to be sold in front of temples and during religious festivals. Fulfilling orders for Western customers is difficult for Chidiya because of the strictness in choosing the right color, the right design, and following quality control standards to the utmost degree. This is my worry for Chidiya. There is no Nest facilitator that is here permanently to help them along this process, and I worry about how the women will do when we leave. This is why I must be extra careful to help, but in a way that will be sustainable for these women. I can't just do everything for them, because when I leave, they will be even worse off if they become dependent on me. I must do my best to teach them so that they can complete the necessary tasks on their own, well after I leave.
I can't believe my stay in India is almost over. I'm excited to buy my first Sari this weekend when we go shopping on Saturday with the UK interns. I have already bought freshly ground coffee to bring home and brew, and also a bunch of fancy sticker bindis :)
Until next time!